Alternate Locate Agreements (ALAs) are “contractual agreements between a facility owner and an excavator that allows the excavator to proceed with their excavation work without receiving a traditional field locate.” (source: ORCGA Best Practice Guide version 7.0) The purpose of an ALA is to allow the excavator to dig without traditional locates – ultimately speeding up the whole process. The facility owner will determine the terms, conditions and allowable work that the agreement will cover. The idea is that the allowable work would never damage underground infrastructure of any kind – so traditional locates may not be needed.
When the agreement is reached, the excavator will receive an Alternate Locate ID Number from Ontario One Call. When the excavator wishes to dig in the vicinity of the facility owner’s underground infrastructure, the excavator will contact Ontario One Call and provide the Alternate Locate ID Number. Ontario One Call will then approve the project by providing a suppressed locate usually by the next day. This is compared to waiting on average two weeks to obtain traditional locates; therefore, excavation can begin much quicker if ALAs are in play.
In order to obtain ALAs the excavator will need to have a proven track record of safe digging habits. This is because the facility owner is essentially providing the excavator permission to dig in the vicinity of their underground plant at any time. There must be a level of trust that the facility owner has with the excavator to know that their utilities will not be damaged in the process. As we have talked about in prior blog posts, hydrovac excavation is the new standard for safe digging. Therefore, ALAs are the perfect fit for hydrovac excavators. When these agreements are in place every party involved saves time and money.